This series of Advent posts has presented a different way of appreciating and celebrating Advent – as not only a gift from Heaven and the promise of good things to come, but also as a gift from the Earth and delight in the good things we have right now. I am really loving this full and balanced celebration of our diversity and our possibilities. As we’ve been going along in the weeks and following the journey of Mary and Joseph I’ve been journeying with my family too. Mostly just really appreciating the time we have together at the moment, and the blessings we have that allow us to enjoy our health, our happiness and our home.
This week coming is Week 3 of Advent, and it is a celebration of the Animal Kingdom. Animals have physical bodies and form, with thanks to the Mineral Kingdom, and thanks to the Plant Kingdom they have life force, diversity, beauty, colour and the ability to adapt, change and reproduce. Animals also have instinct and feelings, they interact socially with one another in a way that plants do not. Animals have evolved their consciousness so that they can interact with each other and their environment in order to meet their complex needs as individuals, and as members of a social group. Animals also have unique skills they have developed to keep their species alive, but also to aid other animals.
When we celebrate the Animal Kingdom we honour the ability to connect with others, we honour the realm of Feeling, and the joy of our senses. We celebrate community and family and friendship. Animals are loyal and brave and funny and interesting. Our relationship with animals has always been closely linked in love and friendship and service, and even nutrition, although this last one is a very personal choice.
This week we are all on holidays … so we have the opportunity to go out and about again. I’d like to:
– visit the Currumbin Community Farm, or if we can’t make it there, our local cafe (The River Mill Cafe) has some very happy farm animals you can visit, and turtles too (although I am not sure I agree that feeding the turtles is a great idea. Please don’t feed them bread!) There is also Harmony Hooves, which is worth a visit because they love animals and love children and love helping … and the three go together so well.
– go to the beach with our binoculars and write down how many different types of wildlife we can see in and out of the water and the sand – go ponding: with a net, a white bucket, a magnifying glass and note-book … see how many tiny creatures live in the waters of our creeks.
– we have a pass to Seaworld this year – that is always a great opportunity to wonder at the animals who live in our oceans. On the Gold Coast Currumbin Sanctuary, David Fleay Wildlife Park and Paradise Country are all great places to see local wildlife if you haven’t been lucky enough to spot any on a bushwalk.
– take some extra care with our own chickens who provide us with eggs every morning: its time to really give their coop a great clean!
– bird watching in the bush. We’ve got a bird guide that we always forget to take with us, and binoculars we always leave at home, and yet we always see birds we want to identify.
– go to the museum! There you will not be able to marvel at live animals, but can certainly appreciated the diversity of species all over the world for the last few million years! Our planet is just amazing. My favourite bit is always to look at the insects, but of course my kids prefer the dinosaurs 🙂
Little Donkey – a really lovely carol about the hard work of Donkey as he carried Mary to Bethlehem
The Friendly Beasts – About the gifts each animals gave the Holy Family. Love the illustrations here by Tomie dePaola
Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer – just for fun 🙂
The Week Three Advent story tells how Mary and Joseph recognise and receive the blessings of the Animal Kingdom on their journey to Bethlehem. You can read it here